Am I Liable if I Hit a Pedestrian on Maricopa Freeway?
Most drivers know to be cautious of pedestrians in urban areas. Runners, bikers, and anyone attempting to walk toward a destination – all these parties are at possible risk if they do not follow proper rules of the road, and it is up to both pedestrians and motorists to prevent accidents.
Not as many drivers exhibit the same caution for pedestrians when driving on the highway. Many drivers don’t even think that there may be a person on or alongside the highway. However, there can be, and the high speed and lack of caution can cause serious incidents. But if you hit a pedestrian while on the freeway, are you liable for the accident?
Why Would Pedestrians Be on the Freeway?
While you may not expect to see a pedestrian on the freeway, it can still occur. Some possible reasons are:
- The pedestrian intends to cross or walk alongside the freeway.
- The pedestrian’s vehicle may have stalled, and the pedestrian is going for help.
- The pedestrian may be pushing a vehicle off the road or trying to see what is wrong with a vehicle.
- Pedestrians may have been in an accident and landed on the road or are discussing the incident amongst the involved parties.
In some cases, pedestrians who are traveling along the freeway may be under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Other pedestrians may walk along the freeway at night due to suicidal behavior. Whatever the circumstances, accidents are possible.
Arizona Pedestrian Laws
While motorists must follow rules of the road, pedestrians have their own set of laws. While walking alongside a road that has a sidewalk, pedestrians must use that sidewalk. On roads that don’t have sidewalks, such as freeways, pedestrians must keep themselves as far away from the main road as possible. These pedestrians must also walk against the flow of traffic, increasing the visibility on both sides.
On roads with crosswalks, motorists must give the right of way to pedestrians. On roads without crosswalks, such as freeways, pedestrians should never attempt to cross. Whether a pedestrian is following the laws while on the freeway can affect liability in an accident.
Due to the higher speed limits on freeways, vehicles often have a hard time slowing down in enough time to prevent collisions. In situations where pedestrians are involved, this difficult reaction window makes it very easy for a distracted driver to crash into pedestrians. Therefore, it is important for both motorists and pedestrians to follow their respective rules of the road.
If you are driving and hit a pedestrian while distracted, it is likely you will be at fault for the accident, especially if the pedestrian was not in the road inappropriately. In situations where the pedestrian is in violation of Arizona law, such as attempting to walk across the freeway, then your fault is less. With Arizona’s comparative negligence laws, the exact proportion of the fault between parties will determine how much damages the victim may recover.
In some cases, neither the motorist or the victim will be at fault for the accident. Instead, government and roadway agencies may be at fault for improper maintenance of and warning on roadways. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the fault may split between you and the agency responsible for the condition of the roadway.
Pedestrian accidents may not be common, but they can have serious effects for pedestrians involved. After an accident, it is important that you contact emergency personnel and take time to document the scene. You and the pedestrian should also move out of the way of traffic to prevent further incident.
Your auto insurance provider can also help handle any possible claims and determine fault in the accident through investigation. For further legal help, contact an experienced Phoenix car accident lawyer in your area for a free consultation following the incident to help you determine your best steps moving forward.
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